ENSAM, Montpellier

TYPE: Dance studio

YEAR: 2012

LOCATION: Montpellier, (FR)

ROLE: Member of 3 person design team



N: Marius Meyer Hatletveit          M: post@mmharchitecture.com            P: +47 455 11 411




When designing DNCE our assignment was to create a dance studio with all the functions needed at a site next to ENSAM in Montpellier. In addition to focusing on the architectural atmosphere we found it a good opportunity to explore some of the energy measures that can be used in a building in order to make it more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Therefore it is facing partly towards the south, with its hallways and double wall acting as heating elements or as cooling elements.


The building is mainly divided into two volumes. The lighter wooden volume contains all the support functions; the heavy concrete volume contains the dance hall. Where they meet they create a “third volume”, the dance studio itself, where the space for visitors and an audience is located.


In this space there are taken many measures to create a good acoustic atmosphere. The roof is tilted, the walls are tilted and the walls are made in slats. The difference in height creates a larger creativity in the dance studio and a larger focus in the spectators area.

Plan ground floor

Section A - A (E - W)

Section B - B (N - S)

Section C - C (N - S)



Light wells provide natural lighting to wardrobes, bathrooms and the office



The main circulation goes through the entire building whilst the exterior route goes through and on the outside



Angles are created to provide a better acoustic environment and to focus attention towards the dance floor



A higher ceiling height over the dance floor makes this a more creative space whilst the lower ceiling height over the stands gives a better focus

During the summer the sunscreen will block out the sun whilst ventilation is facilitated in the tilted windows in the roof

During the winter the sun is let through to warm up the concrete wall and thus heat up both the hallway passage and the interior rooms

The dance studio has a similar setup with a double wall where the winter sun is let through to let heat in

Similarly the summer sun is blocked out and this space ventilated so as to let fresh air into the dance space.